Skip to comments.Clinton returns money, sets precedent (ROFL Alert! Precedent setting,, New standard, LOLOL)
Posted on 09/11/2007 2:21:37 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - In returning $850,000 to donors associated with a disgraced fundraiser, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sets a significant new standard for how campaigns should respond in the face of potential scandal.
Clinton's decision also underscores the price financial and political that her campaign is paying for failing to spot trouble with the fundraiser, Norman Hsu, even after receiving a warning. The campaign announced it would now conduct background checks on its fundraisers, an extraordinary and potentially time consuming step.
By returning the money, Clinton also puts pressure on presidential rivals and other politicians with rainmakers who have dubious pasts or who have employed questionable fundraising tactics, including the campaigns of Barack Obama and John Edwards.
Hsu, a Hong Kong native who appeared suddenly in the New York political scene about four years ago, is under guard in a Colorado hospital after failing to show up for a bail hearing last week in California. He had been wanted as a fugitive for skipping sentencing on a 1991 grand theft case to which he had pleaded no contest.
In the past two weeks, news reports raised questions about his fundraising practices and revealed his fugitive status. Law enforcement authorities said the FBI is now investigating whether Hsu paid donors to contribute to politicians. His lawyer has said Hsu did not break the law and that donors he solicited contributed their own money.
Despite his high-profile political activity, California authorities were apparently unaware of his whereabouts. And despite his abrupt entry into the circle of political money "bundlers" during the 2004 election, politicians did not inquire about his past.
"There were a few people who were scratching their heads, that he was being so generous," said John Catsimatidis, a New York businessman and longtime Clinton money man. "But he was a pleasant guy and nobody thought anything of it."
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that an Irvine, Calif., businessman cautioned the Clinton campaign in June that he suspected Hsu was running an investment scam. The newspaper said the campaign's former finance director for Western states, Samantha Wolf, denied the claim and pronounced Hsu "completely legit."
Asked Tuesday what the campaign did in response to the warning, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said: "It prompted another search of publicly available information which did not reveal the decade-plus old warrant."
Caught flat-footed by the Hsu revelations, the Clinton camp said it will now take extra steps to examine their fundraisers, including conducting criminal background checks.
"In any instances where a source of a bundler's income is in question, the campaign will take affirmative steps to verify its origin," Wolfson said.
Larry Noble, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said Clinton raised the bar on how to respond to troublesome fundraising.
"At one time the standard was if a person is convicted of a crime I'll return the money; then it was if they are indicted," Noble said. "What we're seeing now is the Clinton campaign being very proactive about trying to get out in front of what experience has shown can be a very distracting story."
Aggressive vetting of bundlers, Noble said, "is a big step because, one, it's going to take resources and, two, it may well turn off or insult some fundraisers."
With the cost of campaigns increasing exponentially, candidates are under increasing pressure to rely on fundraisers, or money "bundlers," who help solicit money on their behalf. This election, money is even more important because several presidential candidates plan to forgo public financing.
Clinton has raised $52 million from individual contributors, second only to Obama who has raised $58 million.
"A great deal of fundraising comes form people who are established, have homes, people in the community," Catsimatidis said. "I'd say 99.9 percent. But there is that oddball that occurs once in a while. It happens and one has to be on the watch for that."
Last month, lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, who represented assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, was indicted on charges of conspiring to make more than $125,000 in illegal contributions to Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign. Fieger pleaded not guilty and authorities have said the Edwards campaign was unaware of the activity.
Edwards campaign spokesman Eric Schultz said the campaign will await the outcome of the case against Fieger before acting on the money he helped raise.
"From Day One, the campaign has taken their lead from and cooperated fully with the Department of Justice," Schultz said. "Once this prosecution concludes, if Geoffrey Fieger is found guilty, the campaign will donate all the money in question to charity."
He said the campaign, like Clinton's has also stepped up its vetting of fundraisers.
"We have always had an extensive vetting process for our raisers, but based on the Hsu revelations, and to err on the side of caution, we have begun doing criminal background checks as well," he said.
Obama has already given to charity money that Hsu contributed to his Senate campaign in 2004 and to his political action committee in 2005. Hsu did not assist Obama's presidential campaign but he helped host one fundraiser for Obama during his Senate run. Obama's campaign sent letters to donors potentially affiliated with Hsu, seeking assurances that the money they donated was their own.
Campaign spokesman Bill Burton said the campaign was not returning any money from those donors yet because it was still awaiting their response.
Obama has also given to charity about $37,000 in contributions to his Senate campaign and political action committee that were linked to Chicago businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who faces extortion and fraud charges related to an Illinois public pension fund. Rezko also raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama's state legislative and Senate races. And while Obama has divested his campaign of money from some Rezko associates, he has kept money from others.
"We're constantly reviewing and updating our processes for vetting donations and donors, and we'll continue to do that," Burton said.
This must mean that Hsu is still alive —— :-)
Where is the MegaBarf alert?
Huh? How does that work? How do you return ill gotten money to the original crook?
The bitch lies.
Yeah, she’s quite the ethics poster girl.
Precedent? In what sense? That she had refused to return ill-gotten funds in the past? [hoot]
Former President Bill Clinton chats as he signs copies of his new book, 'Giving,' Friday, Sept. 7, 2007, at a a bookstore in downtown Chicago as a part of his national book tour. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Listening to NPR today, believe it or not, even they are skeptical of Hillary and her ability to return this money, as the vetting did not work at all the first time.
House Speaker Thomas Foley of Wash., left, and President Clinton applaud as first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill Oct. 27, 1993, about her Health Security plan. As first lady, Clinton's signature policy initiative, reforming the nation's health care system, fell apart, largely due to both Clintons' refusal to compromise with health care industry skeptics, and lawmakers. Now campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Clinton says she learned important lessons, and plans a more inclusive approach to reforming health care. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson, File)
That’s like saying that a fence is doing a great thing by returning stolen merchandise after he gets caught.
Just who does the campaign return the money to?..............
Okay boys and girls, let’s follow the money all the way back to its origins....ChiComs, off-shore, ill-gotten sources?
Well, this would be a first...
...for the Clintons.
Hillary! A glowing example of moral fiber! MSM will now praise her to the heavens for setting standards as they heave a sigh of relief.
Rehabilitating Hillary is no easy task,,
even the spinmeisters are stuck.
She’s so honest I could cry.
how many dead people will be getting refunds.
Oh good lord...what total bs. I think I’m going to hurl...
When the MSM covers Clinton’s a$$ to this extent, you know that we as a nation are done, put a fork into us.
Short and sweet, and right on target.
The Beast is trying to spin this scandal into a virtue. Again. "That woman" is a nightmare, and may well be the anti-Christ.
Inquiring minds want to know....
..and we all know how meticulous a record keeper she is.
I’d like to know exactly what “Charities” they are giving all this illegal money to. And if it is in fact illegal contributions, shouldn’t they have to turn it in as evidence? What if some of it is from drug dealers? Do they automatically get their money back?
We have seen a miracle!! Perfection has outdone itself.
And yet, I wonder what percent of the funny money was “returned,” and how far it was “returned,” and to whom.
What a bunch of BS. This is nothing but a puff piece for Hillary. Poor Hillary she will have to check her donors out to see if they are crooks. I cannot believe the MSM. They are nothing but a wing of the Democratic Party,
and has people murdered.
I’m amazed. I tried to google for a picture of Hillary walking on water and I couldn’t find it.
Her operatives are asleep!
Dumb Americans. Clinton IS the crook. I guess it is cool to elect a crook for POTUS in 2008.
The people the Clintons involve are the schmucks.
Besides, Hsu isn't going to be around for Thanksgiving dinner. That man has the Black Spot, smack in the middle of his forehead...
My understanding is that Hsu was a contribution "bundler" in that he passed on the contributions of others. Presumably the money went back to the (straw) donors. If they were straw donors, then this is a windfall from them. They get to keep the money while Mr. Hsu heads off into the legal system.
1. Where this money came from and
2. Exactly who the straw donors were
Does Herr Hillary still have a Secret Service protective detail? If she does, nobody gets close to her without a background check. Seems to me Mr. Hsu would have been nailed by a cursory check since he has outstanding warrants.
Now, now, don’t let those pesky facts get in the way of the Grifter’s real rea$on$ for this pesky little distraction and honest mistake...
I must have missed this on the lead story of World News Tonight!!
I remember Abramhoff... Abramhoff... Abramhoff
Where’s ABC News on this one?
Where’s Brian Ross?
ABC is just another wing of the Democrat Party
Fairness Act for the networks NOW!!!!!!!
Of all the tests that Hsu has gone through in the last few days I hope the polygraph revealed the most damaging information.
I was having lunch in downtown San Francisco this p.m., and two men behind me were discussion Shrillery. Both said they would vote for an independent or even Republican candidate before they would vote for her. In fact, one of them said, “I mean, she’s as fascist and power-hungry as you can get, dude - have you ever listened to her?”
And this is in the heart of her target market. I haven’t seen ANY Hillary bumper stickers - lot of Obama and Giuliani, but NO Hillary.
I saw a picture posted (not sure if it is photoshopped) of Hillary and Hsu. Now, based on Hillarys appearance (hair etc) this would be a fairly recent picture if it is not fake. Couldn’t it be assumed that if she is taking pictures with him while he is a fugitive, that she had some knowledge that he was wanted by the authorities? Besides the obvious aid and abetting of the MSM, how can she deny this?
Rush Limbagh calls this a huge scandal. But in dollar amounts, it is dwarfed by the the amount of money that Peter Paul has asked that she return to him, yet she has ignored his request for years.
Witch alert ping!
For a while, at least.
I am guessing 'ol Mr. Hsu will have some "collection agents" drop by for a visit.